Fire Engine Plate, "Vigilant"

Description (Brief)
At the core of any fire company is the apparatus used to fight fires and protect lives. This was particularly true of for the volunteer fire fighters in 19th century America. Often purchased with their own funds, their fire engines were the focus of their pride and affection, as well as their identities as fire fighters. Engine plates, often made of brass, would be prominently affixed to engines and inscribed with the company name, number, and founding date. Engine plates could pass from old engine to new, or be kept in the firehouse as a memorial to a departed apparatus.
This brass engine plate features the text “Vigilant VI” engraved and filled with black enamel. The rectangular plate with scalloped corners has two holes on each side that allowed it to be attached to an engine.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
plate, fire engine
maker
unknown
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 in x 3 3/4 in; 20.32 cm x 9.525 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0948
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0948
subject
Work
Cultures & Communities
Fire Fighting
Firefighting Collection
Fire Engine Plates
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Firefighting Collection
Fire Engine Plates
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Visitor Comments

11/5/2015 5:59:41 PM
Jim Eifler
This engine plate is from Vigilant Engine Company #6 from Paterson N.J.. Vigilant #6 was founded organized January 1, 1867, they were given the hand operated engine previously used by Eng. Co. #1. The Paterson N.J. Volunteer F.D. started operations on July 4, 1815 and is now a paid F.D. with 13 companies.
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